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Game 26: Opportunity lost

by Daniel Fung / Vancouver Canucks
The Canucks went into play on Monday night with an opportunity to make up some ground against the Kings in a very tough Pacific Division. Instead, they fell even further back of the pack in heartbreaking fashion.

Anze Kopitar scored 48 seconds into overtime to lift the Kings to a 3-2 come-from-behind win at Rogers Arena in a game that the Canucks felt they had to have, and one they certainly looked like they had in the bag until the dying stages of the third period.

Henrik Sedin's power play marker at 6:59 of the third period gave the Canucks their first lead of the night and looked like it might be enough to allow Vancouver to close out what has been a dismal six-game home stand on a high note.

However, the Kings found the equalizing marker with just less than three minutes left in regulation after some hard forechecking by Los Angeles resulted in a Mike Richards goal setting the stage for Kopitar's overtime heroics.

Chris Tanev scored his first of the season for the Canucks in the second period while Kyle Clifford had opened the scoring in the game for the Kings in the first period.

In a game between two recent and bitter playoff rivals, this game had all the intensity of a post-season affair.

The two teams combined for 52 hits and 80 penalty minutes - 70 of those coming in a second period that featured four players being handed misconduct penalties and a spirited tussle between Vancouver's Ryan Stanton and Los Angeles' Jordan Nolan.

Roberto Luongo made 19 saves on 22 shots in the loss while Ben Scrivens turned aside 37 of 39 shots in the victory.

With the loss, the Canucks fell to 12-9-5 on the season and closed out their home stand with a disappointing 1-2-3 record.

The Canucks head out on the road for four straight beginning on Thursday when they battle the Ottawa Senators.

SILVER LININGS: David Booth made his return to the lineup after sitting out three straight games as a healthy scratch. He didn't get on the scoresheet but did have a couple of scoring chances and finished the game with a season-high five shots in just 13:45 of ice-time... After going point-less in 14 straight games, Jason Garrison now has points in back-to-back games... Chris Tanev's goal was his first of the season – his first in 34 regular season games – and also snapped a personal nine-game point drought.

ONE STREAK CONTINUES: Despite the overtime loss, the Canucks managed to extend their regulation undefeated streak against the Kings on home ice in regular season play to 10 games (7-0-3).

KINGS CORNER: The win for the Los Angeles extended their games with a point earned streak to 10 (8-0-2). Their franchise record for consecutive games with a point earned is 11 – a record they could equal on Wednesday when they head into San Jose... Mike Richards appeared in his 600th career NHL game... Anze Kopitar's overtime winner was his 499th career NHL point.

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